Boxer re­lin­quishes crown af­ter say­ing he will not fight for peanuts in the US to de­fend his ti­tle

For a ‘paltry’ R70 000

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

Zolani Tete has given up his In­ter­na­tional Boxing Fed­er­a­tion (IBF) su­per fly­weight ti­tle – claim­ing he was be­ing forced to de­fend his crown for a “paltry” R70 000. Tete, the coun­try’s only IBF cham­pion, was ex­pected to make a manda­tory de­fence against McJoe Ar­royo of Puerto Rico on July 11. But in­stead, he has de­cided to re­lin­quish the crown, say­ing he would not fight for an amount of money that was, in ef­fect, an in­sult.

This comes af­ter a bid for the bout took place at the IBF’s New Jer­sey of­fices last month where Golden Boy Pro­mo­tions – owned by for­mer world cham­pion Os­car De La Hoya – was the only bid­der at $25 000 (R314 000).

The 27-year-old South African cried foul. The East Lon­don fighter said he would have to take home a smaller per­cent­age of the earn­ings, which was a “pit­tance not wor­thy of a world cham­pion”.

“I’ve de­cided to re­lin­quish the ti­tle be­cause I feel I am be­ing short-changed,” he said.

“As the world cham­pion, I’m sup­posed to get a purse that is four times more than the R70 000 I have been promised.

“I would have been left with noth­ing in my pocket af­ter de­duc­tions like tax, the IBF fee, a visa, a boxing li­cence for fight­ing in Puerto Rico and the trainer’s pay­ment.

“This is an in­sult to me as a world cham­pion and I don’t re­gret va­cat­ing the ti­tle,” he ex­plained.

Tete said he was ex­tremely an­noyed that the purse money was smaller than the amount be­ing paid for con­test­ing a South African ti­tle. “As far as I know, a South African cham­pion gets a R90 000 purse for de­fend­ing a crown,” he said.

Tete de­fended his cham­pi­onship ti­tle against English­man Paul But­ler in the English city Liver­pool in March.

He won the then va­cant ti­tle by beat­ing Ja­panese boxer Teiru Ki­noshita on points in Ja­pan in July last year.

“What is most un­fair about the Puerto Rico pay­ment dis­crep­ancy is the fact that I was paid a big­ger purse in a vol­un­tary de­fence against But­ler,” said Tete.

The fighter’s manager, Mlan­deli Tengim­fene, said they had weighed up their op­tions on the Puerto Rico fight be­fore de­cid­ing against it.

“We were given three days by the Ar­royo camp to ac­cli­ma­tise for the fight in Puerto Rico com­pared with the [ear­lier fight] in the UK, where we were al­lowed 10 days in which to pre­pare,” ex­plained Tengim­fene.

“We were in­formed that we were ex­pected to be in Puerto Rico three days be­fore the tour­na­ment.

“Imag­ine the pun­ish­ment of hav­ing to en­dure more than 30 hours of fly­ing and get­ting such lit­tle time to pre­pare for the bout,” he added.

Tengim­fene con­firmed they had de­cided to give up the ti­tle be­cause Tete was be­ing dis­re­spected by both chal­lenger and pro­moter.

He said they would meet soon to map out fu­ture plans for Tete, who was now trained by for­mer Boxing SA CEO Loy­iso Mtya.

Tete’s pro­moter, Branco Milenkovic, said he would not re­new the boxer’s con­tract when it ex­pired on July 21. It is be­lieved that Milenkovic and Mtya do not see eye to eye. Milenkovic told City Press: “All I can do is to wish him well in his fu­ture en­deav­ours.”

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